The Year of St Joseph

Posted: 19th March 2021

The Guardian of us all.

Mrs McDermott, Head of RE, reminds us of this year papal theme:

‘Friday 19th March is the feast day of St Joseph and this year it is particularly important as it falls in the “Year of St Joseph.” To celebrate the 150th anniversary of St Joseph being declared the Patron of the Universal Church, Pope Francis has proclaimed a special “Year of St Joseph.” This began on 8th December, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception 2020 and will end on the same feast in 2021.  Pope Francis also wrote an Apostolic Letter “Patris corde” (“With a Father’s Heart”), to mark this 150th anniversary.

In “Patris corde”, Pope Francis describes St Joseph as a beloved father, a tender and loving father, an obedient father, an accepting father; a father who is creatively courageous, a working father, a father in the shadows. The Holy Father wrote “Patris corde” against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, which, he says, has helped us see more clearly the importance of “ordinary” people who, though far from the limelight, exercise patience and offer hope every day. In this, they resemble St Joseph, “the man who goes unnoticed, a daily, discreet and hidden presence,” who nonetheless played “an incomparable role in the history of salvation.”

I particularly love Pope Francis’ description of the importance of St Joseph as, “A carpenter who earned an honest living to provide for his family,” as my own father was a carpenter, who also lived his whole life working hard to provide for our family. This example of St Joseph teaches us “the value, the dignity and the joy of what it means to eat bread that is the fruit of one’s own labour.” The Holy Father uses this aspect of Joseph’s character to launch an appeal in favour of work, which has become “a burning social issue” even in countries with a certain level of well-being. “There is a renewed need to appreciate the importance of dignified work, of which Saint Joseph is an exemplary patron,” the Pope writes.

Work, he says, “is a means of participating in the work of salvation, an opportunity to hasten the coming of the Kingdom, to develop our talents and abilities, and to put them at the service of society and fraternal communion.” For each of us, this is a reminder of our responsibility to nurture and develop our talents to build God’s Kingdom on earth. Pope Francis explains that those who work, “are co-operating with God himself, and in some way become creators of the world around us.”

At the conclusion of his Letter, he adds a prayer to St Joseph, which he encourages all of us to pray together:

Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer,
Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
To you God entrusted his only Son;
in you Mary placed her trust;
with you Christ became man.

Blessed Joseph, to us too,
show yourself a father
and guide us in the path of life.
Obtain for us grace, mercy, and courage,
and defend us from every evil.

Amen.

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